8:10pm: The Lakers don’t believe that the talks with the Suns about Gasol are over, and discussions with Phoenix and other teams are expected to continue through February 20, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.
7:49pm: The Suns have halted talks with the Lakers regarding Gasol because L.A. reportedly wants too much in return, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Of the four first-round picks that Phoenix could possibly own this year, the Lakers were said to have been pushing for either the pick owed from Minnesota (top 13-protected) or Washington (top 12-protected. The other two draft choices the Suns have at their disposal include their own (currently projected at 22nd overall) and Indiana’s (now 30th).
Talks could resume before the February 20 deadline, but there needs to be a compromise on which first round pick the Lakers would receive in a Gasol deal, tweets Bresnahan.
8:13am: The Lakers and Suns spoke again Monday about the idea of a swap of Pau Gasol for Emeka Okafor, but the Suns want to see how Gasol’s recovery from a strained groin progresses before furthering the talks, report Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPNLosAngeles.com. The Spanish center is set to miss the next three games. If such a trade were to happen, it wouldn’t take the Lakers completely out of tax territory, so they’d insist on receiving draft picks or young players along with Okafor.
Still, the Lakers don’t feel they absolutely must avoid the tax this season, and even if they decide to do so, they believe trading Gasol isn’t their only path out of tax territory, as Shelburne and Stein write. That’s been their belief since last month, when they were involved in negotiations with the Cavs about trading for Andrew Bynum. The Lakers and Cavs have stayed in touch about Gasol in the time since, but there’s nothing imminent on that front, according to the ESPN report. The Lakers expect the market for Gasol to improve closer to the deadline, but they’re all right with holding on to him and retaining the flexibility that his nearly $19.3MM expiring contract will give them in the summer.
The Suns are willing to trade multiple 2014 first-round picks for a star player, but they realize such a talent is unlikely to become available before the deadline, Shelburne and Stein note. Thus, Gasol intrigues Phoenix, since he’s a veteran who could help the team’s playoff drive without cutting into this summer’s cap space.